Day 40: Thursday 26th May

IMG_0804A strange day today, and one that felt like very hard work.  Sometimes the miles fly by but not today.  I think it’s because I was on roads that were pretty enough but long and straight with little variety.  Sometimes you need a bend, a hill, a bridge; anything to break up the monotony and stop you thinking about how far you have to go.  I also didn’t see Hazel from start to finish today.  Still, 20 miles done, objective reached, and over 700 miles in total.

We had an interesting dinner at The Rhiw Goch Inn yesterday evening.  Interesting in that the previous manager upped and left a few weeks back without a word, and the new managers were moving step-by-step to bring the place back to life.  The food was simple but good, and great value, and the welcome couldn’t have been nicer.  Best of luck for the future.  http://www.rhiwgochinn.com/

Despite the drudgery the day started and ended well.  We duly got our demonstration of the model garden railway after breakfast.  Breakfast itself was an event, being served by our host in traditional Welsh dress.  Lovely.  The early afternoon was spent walking alongside Cadair Idris, that some say is the most spectacular mountain in Wales.  And to finish the day we were entertained by the fast jet jockeys of the RAF who had clearly picked out Hazel and the Jogle Mobile as a fair target for practice.  Sadly too fast for me to get a photo.

Day 39: Wednesday 25th May

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The coast is in sight

 

Another 19 miles today, which is a few more than planned, so once again I am ahead of the schedule (just).  A bit dull and definitely cooler today.  The shorts stayed on but my jacket made a reappearance for most of the day.  The route from Beddgelert to the far side of Trawsfynydd took us within sight of the coast.  Always nice to see the sea.

 

Not a great deal else to talk about other than a bit of a railway theme.  The magnificent Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway runs through Beddgelert and followed a portion of today’s route.  I heard the train whistle on several occasions but was never close enough to take a picture.  Not the case with the other railway which is in the garden of our B&B tonight.  I wonder if we will see the trains run?

Day 38: Tuesday 24th May

 

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The reception at Plas Y Brein

18 miles today, all along main roads, but surprisingly pleasant, no doubt helped by fabulous weather.  Snowdon was in view for much of the day and the route from Betws-y-coed to Beddgelert took us close.  We passed Plas Y Brenin, the National Mountain Sports Centre, and joined up for a nice lunch at the side of the road with the Snowdon Horseshoe in full view.  Hazel managed to do some washing this morning and used the lunch stop to do some drying.

 

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I dedicated today’s walk to everyone connected to The Holt School in Wokingham; staff, pupils, ex-pupils, Governors, and the parents.  Good luck to everyone doing GCSEs and A-levels.

As a bit of fun how about everyone at the school have a go at learning to pronounce the famous Welsh place:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Lots of other things to catch the eye today as well including:

  • A couple of people paraponting near Snowdon
  • A stray sheep (this seems to happen a lot)
  • Hazel found a beach
  • A copper mine
  • Some impressive statues in Beddgelert
  • Chris meets two of his childhood heroes

I can’t close without thanking Louise Jones at Padog B&B where we stayed last night.  Amazing generosity.  If you need a B&B near Llanrwst this is the place to stay:  www.padogbandb.co.uk

Day 37: Monday 23rd May

A gorgeous day today for the 21 miles from just outside Denbigh to the beautiful Betws-y-coed.  Really hard work with more ups and downs than a Shard elevator.  Nice quiet roads, lovely scenery, a windfarm, sheep by the thousand.  A bit of everything.  I also got a first view of Snowdonia as I came over the tops into Betws.

Betws itself is famous for the Swallow falls; and gorillas apparently.

And finally, I am not known for my artistic ability (basically I don’t have any), but this selfie seemed too good to miss…………and a bonus little relaxing video at the very bottom of the post.

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Eat your heart out David Bailey

Day 36: Sunday 21st May

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Our special little road by Moel Famau

A mixed weather day today with heavy rain showers in the morning and some nice periods of warm sunshine in the afternoon.  Star navigator Hazel pointed out a more direct route along a very small road up and over the Clwydian Range, and close to Moel Famau.  My Welsh isn’t very good but I think the pronunciation is Mow (as in one man went to…….) Vammer (rhymes with hammer).


However you say it this hill was a frequent destination for me as a cub and as a scout.  The new route was both beautiful and shorter than my original, taking us through Denbigh, and getting us back on schedule with 19 miles done.

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A rally of old Fords

 

On the way into Denbigh I was passed by dozens (literally) of old Ford Escorts and Capris, with the odd Cortina thrown in.  I have no idea what they were up to but some kind of rally I guess.

 

 


Today’s photos include a somewhat unusual sign seen on a stone building, and the war memorial in Denbigh with an opportunity for the linguists to practice Welsh.

Day 35: Saturday 21st May

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Welcome to Wales, home of the dragon

 

 

Heavy rain today for the walk from Willaston to Rhydymwyn.  A bit of a navigation nightmare getting into Wales.  Lots of zig-zagging on minor roads to avoid the incredibly busy main roads through Queensferry.

 

 

The rain stopped eventually and traffic eased off as we met in a hotel car park just short of Mold for a mid-afternoon pit stop.  A bit of a giggle when we realised we were sat in the car park of the place we were booked in to stay tonight.  Fate.  It was 3:15pm, my feet were a bit sore from all the road walking, and we have been doing some long days with almost no down time.  This is supposed to be fun so an easy decision to call it a day and have a real break.  Only 5 miles short of the day’s goal and plenty of opportunity to make that up in the next couple of day; and 600 miles completed to boot (another great pun).

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The old bridge over the River Dee into Queensferry

Day 34: Friday 20th May

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The Fiveways Hotel, Childwall

 

 

 

An unashamedly nostalgic update today as I relived much of my youth while walking through Liverpool.  I set out from Prescot Station at 9am and met up with Terry at the Fiveways Hotel.  This is the nearest landmark to the house where I grew up and a good spot for a bit of private reflection on Mum and Dad and growing up.

 

 

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Outside The Bluecoat School

 

 

 

Next on to my old school, The Bluecoat.  If you zoom in the date on the gate post is my year of birth.  I wish I could say they put up the gates to celebrate my arrival but just a coincidence.

 

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The magnificent Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool

 

 

 

The Anglican Cathedral is a fantastic building and full of stories.  If you are ever in the area you must visit and take a tour.  It also happens to be where I recorded “Oh for the wings of a dove” when I was 12 with the church choir.

 

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Outside the Liver Building

 

 

 

On to the Pier Head for the short journey across the Mersey on the iconic ‘Ferry ‘cross the Mersey’ aboard Royal Iris.  Before boarding Terry and I had a nice lunch and reminisced on our football careers, and the goings on at Liverpool FC.  I also reconnected with one of the Super-lamb-bananas that symbolised the fun of Liverpool being European City of Culture.

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A Super-lamb-banana

 

 

 

Once on the Wirral the walk out of Birkenhead to meet with Hazel at Willaston went without incident.  21 miles closer to Snowdon.

 

 

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Is this the most feared centre-back pairing in the history of University football?
Terry ‘bite yer legs’ Brennan and Chris ‘chopper’ Cottam.  We’ve put on a few pounds but I reckon we could still handle Messi, Namar, and Suarez.

Day 33: Thursday 19th May

I forgot something from yesterday’s blog…………over 1,000,000 steps.

A good walk today of 22 miles took us from Chorley to Prescot on the outskirts of Liverpool.  The weather in the morning was overcast but pleasant enough.  Just before lunch it started to drizzle, and it got steadily heavier as the day went on.  By the time I arrived in Prescot I was soaked through.

Another live radio interview with Radio Berkshire at 10:30 seemed to go well, and a nice lunch with Hazel in a pub car park next to the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  We also caught up with a couple of old friends this evening; Terry and Collette, plus their son John who was a tiddler last time we saw him and is now in the middle of GCSEs.  Good luck John.

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2 new friends.  I shall call them Sammie and Sophie as they remind me of our daughters.

 

Into Liverpool tomorrow and on to The Wirral.  Hope the weather improves.

Day 32: Wednesday 18th May

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A big change in the weather this morning.  Steady drizzle with some heavier downpours actually came as a refreshing change.  23 miles done with some real change in scenery.  The walk down into Ribchester was typical of the rolling countryside of the last few days.  Then a big change through the outskirts of Blackburn and on through the suburbs of Chorley.  Lunch was in Pleasington, which was pleasant as the name suggests.

 

Commiserations to Liverpool (my team).  It won’t quite be the same when we walk through on Friday.  “You’ll never walk alone” seems very apt for what I’m doing just now.

Finally some contrasting photos; the beautiful Pleasington Priory, and the not so beautiful M6.  And if I needed a reminder that we are in Lancashire this pub sign should do nicely.

 

Day 31: Tuesday 17th May

I missed something pretty important yesterday…………………..500 miles walked !!!

Nice walking weather yet again today and just under 24 miles done from High Salter to just north of Ribchester.  The morning was an ‘up and over’ for the Forest of Bowland.  Pretty strange name as there were no trees 🙂

Great scenery, although walking across open moorland is not the quickest way of getting about.

I met Hazel for a late lunch at Dunsop Bridge, which styles itself as the centre of the United Kingdom.  It also has a huge number of ducks, hence the tea room name.

We had yet another enforced change of route in the afternoon as the road we needed was closed due to a landslip.  An emergency detour probably added a mile but not too bad.

The locals clearly have a sense of humour judging by the sculptures we saw.